CHICAGO, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A major regional initiative of business, academic and government leaders to make the area more innovative will be launched October 24 with the Innovate NOW! Chicagoland Innovation Summit. Regional leaders in the multi-state commerce center surrounding Chicago and national business figures will gather at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago to discuss and collaborate on the topic of innovation. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman is a featured speaker during the morning session. John Callaway, senior editor and host of WTTW's Chicago Stories and Friday Night and founding host of Chicago Tonight, will serve as special host and moderator. The Chicagoland Innovation Summit, "Innovate NOW! -- Taking Charge of Our Future," kicks off a long-term relationship and collaboration of leaders who are interested in advancing the growth of not only specific business sectors, but the entire region. "Innovation is the key to ensure we all thrive in the current global economy," said Jerry Roper, President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, which has spearheaded the conference. "It is our responsibility as leaders to set the agenda of how we can become more innovative in all aspects of our businesses to guarantee the region's future prosperity." According to a study by the Washington, D.C-based Council on Competitiveness, regions that use innovation as the foundation for an economic development strategy, are more successful and experience higher economic performance than others. More than 30 sponsors have already endorsed and will participate in this first annual innovation event, including such major companies as IBM, Microsoft, Crain's Chicago Business, American Airlines, The Boeing Company, CDW, Charter One Bank, Mesirow Financial, Motorola, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Wal- Mart and Strategic Hotels & Resorts. The event's keynote speaker will be Carl Schramm, Ph.D., President and CEO, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Foundation, which supports entrepreneurship and innovation, is the 26th largest in the U.S. with an asset base of $2 billion. Other speakers include: -- John Edwardson, Chairman and CEO, CDW -- Ian Foster, Ph.D., Director of the Computation Institute at Argonne National Laboratory -- Laurence Geller, President and CEO, Strategic Hotels & Resorts -- Lawrence J. Keeley, President, Doblin Inc. -- Robert McIlvaine, President, The Royal Group -- James O'Connor, Jr., Vice President of Technology Incubation and Commercialization, Motorola -- Robert Rosner, Ph.D., Director, Argonne National Laboratory -- James Tyree, Chairman and CEO, Mesirow Financial -- Thomas J. Wilson, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Allstate Corporation -- Deborah Wince-Smith, Council on Competitiveness -- Robert Zimmer, Ph.D., President, University of Chicago Industry leaders from seven business sectors will also lead discussion groups on the topics of transportation/logistics, bio-sciences, hospitality/tourism, financial services, manufacturing, communications and software/computer services. The summit is open to all business, academic and government leaders. Registration is $225. Registration and more information can be found at http://www.chicagolandchamber.org or by calling the Chamber Event Hotline at 312-494-6709. An initial area of focus for the innovation initiative will be manufacturing. The summit is sponsored by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, World Business Chicago and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in partnership with the Council on Competitiveness.
SOURCE Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce